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Chargers' Turner assumes he'll be fired

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO - Chargers coach Norv Turner sounded like a coach resigned to his fate.

"We're going to meet tomorrow and with the team and I'm sure they will start looking for a new coach," said an emotional Turner about his future with the Chargers after they earned a 24-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday before 66,486 at Qualcomm Stadium.

"To have a career in this league means a lot," Turner continued. "These six years have been awesome for me and to be part of this organization and to lead this group of guys...they know how I feel. Nothing's guaranteed in terms of what you're doing. I think we've worked hard to make the most out of every situation we've been put in.

"As I said, I feel fortunate to have been here the last six years. It's emotional. There's a lot going on."

Turner addressed the players after the game.

"It was emotional and he talked about how we didn't do exactly what we wanted to do, but these last couple of weeks have been real special," said kickoff-punt returner Micheal Spurlock on Turner's postgame speech. "Everyone else can speculate and do all of those things, but as far as I know, he's still my coach."

Turner's dismissal has been the subject of published reports for weeks. Charger general manager A.J. Smith also is expected to be fired. His status also is expected to be determined Monday.

The duo's expected demise didn't affect the team's performance Sunday, as the Chargers (7-9) swept their AFC West rival and earned their third win in a row over Oakland (4-12).

"We're already looking forward to next year," said Raiders running back Darren McFadden, who managed just 57 yards on 19 carries and didn't record a run of more than eight yards.

Two touchdown passes by quarterback Philip Rivers helped pave the way for the Chargers, though both teams struggled offensively. Rivers completed 13 of 17 passes for 151 yards with no interceptions, while his counterpart, Terrelle Pryor, finished 13 of 28 for 150 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Pryor, who made his first start as a pro, replacing the injured Carson Palmer, also ran for 49 yards and a score.

Overall, the Raiders finished with 265 yards of offense to only 210 for San Diego. Oakland also compiled more rushing yards than the Chargers - 115-70.

The Chargers started with a bang. Spurlock, who returned a punt for a touchdown in the previous week's win over the Jets, opened the game against Oakland with a 99-yard kickoff return for a 7-0 Chargers lead.

"It was unbelievable," Spurlock said.

San Diego increased the margin to 10-0 on a 30-yard field goal by Nick Novak with 4:11 left in the first quarter.

The Raiders cut the gap to 10-7 when Pryor tossed his first touchdown pass as a pro, a nine-yard reception by wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey with 12:11 remaining in the second quarter.

"He just called the play in the huddle, so I knew he was going to throw it up to me," Heyward-Bey said. "I went up there and made the play for him. It was good to get his first touchdown out of the way so we could move on."

The Chargers answered with a 14-play, 81-yard drive that consumed 9:23. It concluded with an 11-yard scoring pass from Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates with 2:48 left in the half for a 17-7 advantage.

In the third quarter, Rivers connected with wide receiver Danario Alexander on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 4:59 left for a 24-7 lead.

Pryor's three-yard run with 7:43 remaining in the game pulled Oakland to within 24-14.

After Oakland's Coye Francies blocked a Mike Scifres punt and Kaelin Burnett recovered it at the San Diego 11, Pryor hit wide receiver Denarius Moore with 1:52 left, slicing the Chargers' advantage to 24-21.

However, San Diego recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock. The clock on Turner could expire Monday.

"It was emotional as it was the last game," Chargers safety Eric Weddle said. "After the game it was pretty emotional because we don't know what's going to happen. We have a lot of love for Norv and what he's done for us, including myself. He helped grow me to the player that I am. He had a lot to do with that."

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